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Scripture as Poetic Sacrament

A review of The Bible and Poetry by Michael Edwards (translated by Stephen E. Lewis, Jr.)
Fidelity to place, to the community of one’s birth, is not merely one virtue among others, but a foundational and formative source of our character. We first learn to be faithful husbands and wives from the unchosen example we witness of our own parents. We first learn to be faithful citizens as we explore the small postage stamp of terrain that we did not choose to go to, but simply awakened to with our first dawn of consciousness.
Beauty, properly understood, offers us a way of self-transcendence. Beauty leads us to participate in a truth that’s bigger than us. When we learn to participate in that beauty, we experience joy, and in some ways experience the true meaning of freedom.
The contemporary academy betrays its vocation precisely insofar as it seeks to usurp the wonder of the world and to transpose that wonder onto its own ingenuity. “Look,” says the contemporary scholar, “let me show you how this-or-that is really just an exercise of power. I alone have had the vision to see it.”
Flannery O’Connor drew on her understanding of the evil within her in composing her brilliant fiction. Far from being the simple racist that recent attacks have made her out to be, she authored some of the most probing accounts of the psychology of racism in American literature.